October 21, 2014

Bereaved father asks panel for federal investigation

The Kenosha man whose son was shot and killed by police in 2004 is asking the city Police and Fire Commission to request a federal investigation into the incident. He is alleging a cover-up that reaches to the highest level of city government.

Police claim 21-year-old Michael E. Bell had control of an officer’s gun when he was shot in the head during a traffic stop that night.

Michael M. Bell told the commission Tuesday there is “not one shred of evidence” that suggests his son had his hands on the officer’s weapon while there is “loads of forensic evidence” indicating a cover up by officers, the police chief, and top administrators.

Kenosha County Supervisor Mark Molinaro, who comes from a family of law enforcement officers, begged the commission not to reopen the matter. “Do not go back on the internal investigation that was done and overrule it,” said Molinaro. “And support the men and women who protect and serve this community every day.”

Bell delivered a large number of documents to the commission last week. Commissioner Helen Schumacher said members need more time to review it. She said the panel “certainly would cooperate” with any investigation that may occur.

It is expected that Bell’s request will be considered at a Police and Fire Commission meeting early next year.  He has already filed his own request for the investigation with the FBI and Department of Justice.

The city of Kenosha settled a civil lawsuit with the Bell family for $1.75 million in 2010 but Bell believes his compiled evidence rises to a criminal case against the city and police.

AUDIO: Brian Moon reports (1:10)

Janet Hoff-WRJN contributed to this report